The Porter Town Council unanimously established a riverfront development
area Tuesday encompassing the former Spa banquet center, where members
confirmed an experienced regional caterer is in the process of acquiring the
site for redevelopment.
ďEvery long-term resident of this town has told me vehemently theyíd like to
see this,Ē said council president Greg Stinson.
The once-popular Spa restaurant and reception center on Mineral Springs Road
has sat vacant for about 10 years. The town has no available liquor licenses
but will gain more in the designated riverfront district.
It contains about 53 acres and generally is located at the southeast
quadrant of the U.S. 20 and Mineral Springs Road intersection; included is a
portion of the Little Calumet River and land on which sits the Spring House
The districtís acreage currently is zoned Business-2 PUD requiring
development proposals to be reviewed by the town.
Unlike Chestertonís 2009 riverfront resolution for a development project
near its downtown and Coffee Creek, Porterís resolution doesnít list any
required public investment.
After Tuesdayís meeting Stinson said he will propose that Porter extend a
leg of its new Brickyard hike/bike trail north along Mineral Springs to The
Spa and the Spring House Inn. Other town riverfront investment in
partnership with the Porter Redevelopment Commission could follow, he added.
Council member David Wodrich said potential riverfront projects including
The Spa would be an exciting addition to the town and an opportunity to grow
the entire corridor there.
Voting 4-0 with member Jeannine Virtue absent, the council authorized that
the cost to maintain fire hydrants for fire protection now will be paid by
Indiana American Water Co. customers living in Porter, not the town itself.
Shifting the burden will free up about $113,000 annually for other uses.
Council member Elka Nelson said IAWC estimates the monthly fee added to
customer bills will be $4.61 although Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
approval is required.
Stinson estimated it could take about 60 to 90 days for IAWC to begin
collecting the new charge.
Prior to the vote former Town Council member Jon Granat said itís unfair
that only IAWC customers, not all town residents, will be assessed. Granat
said heís not totally opposed to paying the fee, just the way itís to be
Town attorney Gregg Sobkowski said take it up with Indiana General Assembly
members because they wrote the statute that dictates the town itself cannot
bill residents for a hydrant maintenance fee.
Stinson noted IAWC will charge Porterís approximately 1,200 customers less
than what it would have billed the town for hydrant maintenance.
Wards, trash and
On unanimous votes with no discussion the council redistricted town wards
for voting and representation purposes, and set 2013/2014 rates and charges
for garbage pick-up reflecting a slight increase.
The council previously discussed minor adjustments to Porterís five ward
boundaries and maintained the same number of districts it currently has. The
changes will be effective upon legal publication; a review was mandated
following certification this year of the 2010 census.
The garbage fee assessed each residential household will increase from
$13.89 now to $14.24 for 2013 and $14.59 for 2014. The rates reflect
increases in the townís contract with Able Disposal.
In separate votes Tuesday the Town Council and the Porter Redevelopment
Commission both reaffirmed the RDCís Sept. 25 resolution and expanded the
townís TIF district to include four parcels of land: the Seven Peaks
Waterpark Duneland and its parking lot off Waverly Road, the nearby Quick
Stop and a vacant strip between the latter and the waterpark.
Future property taxes generated from new development in the TIF district can
be kept by the RDC for its sole use. Utah-based Seven Peaks indicated it
would spent $1.5 million to $2 million to upgrade the former Splash Down
Dunes waterpark it purchased.
The RDC conducted a public hearing last night on the TIF expansion; no one
On another matter, Stinson said the councilís proposed 2013-2015 CEDIT
spending plan is based on Porterís share of this yearís county income-tax
revenue. No individual town departments will receive CEDIT funds unless
approved by the council. Earmarked are $200,000 each year for equipment and
services, and $55,110 each year for economic development or a three-year
combined total of $765,330.
Police chief James Spanier was granted permission to carry over his $14,070
CEDIT balance from this year.
Spanier also won approval to buy two in-stock police cars from Thomas Dodge
in Highland and related vehicle equipment for a total $77,245. Money is in
Spanierís budget for the purchase.
The council voted not to spend $1,430 annually for an estimated six years on
life, major medical and disability insurance on Porterís new police dog
Kilo. Local veterinarian Dr. Larry Reed donates excellent medical care for
Porterís police dog, said Spanier; the Police budget will pay $68 a year on
Kilo for straight life insurance.
Porterís previous police dog Nicky died unexpectedly earlier this year.